Skip to main content
site map
rss feedemail usour twitterour facebook page pintrest
Latest Posts

Blogging By the Sea
Saturday, February 24 2018

This month's Round Robin blog is about: Your characters come from your mind, from other people you've witnessed, but can you create their lives without them revealing something about yourself? Have they ever taught you something?

   I have a feeling we all reveal some small bits about ourselves in all our characters, both the heroes and the villains. Often it’s not deliberate, or even noticed, but thoughts, expressions, feelings, tics, histories, dreams, likes, dislikes, desires and fears sneak their way into the characters we create and torment for the next 200 or 300 pages.

   As a romance writer, creating heroes always means giving them attributes that I find appealing which says a lot about what I find attractive in a man. It probably says something about the things the men in my life have failed at, too. For my heroines, it might be things I wish I was and know I’m not. Or she might have a lot of the same desires, drives, dreams and flaws that I am so familiar with because I live them every day.

   In any genre, including romance, there is usually a villain or an antagonist who can reveal something about the author, even when the author is the kindest of souls and would never for a moment consider doing any of the evil things the villain has in mind. Perhaps the villain threatens the thing the author is most afraid of in his or her personal life. When I was a small child, my family was driving home after dark when a fire truck raced past and my father decided to follow it. When we got there the house was already engulfed in flames and we watched fascinated as the firefighters fought to quell the blaze. For years after that I had nightmares about my house burning down. Sometimes I was worried about my safety and my family. Sometimes I was more worried about all the things I might lose. How easy it would be for me to create a villain who happened to be an arsonist and in so doing, reveal all my personal horrors.

   Of course, some authors deliberately include themselves or their biases, political views and more. Sometimes a best-selling author might use their powerful far-reaching platform to advance a cause as Suzanne Brockmann has done to promote acceptance of the gay lifestyle. Other authors have used their knowledge of the inner workings of politics to write novels with a political agenda, either conservative or liberal. And of course, there are the memoirs that are all about the author to start with.

   As for the question, have any of my characters taught me something? I can’t speak for all authors, but I have definitely learned from my characters, especially those who are very unlike myself, either in personality or in outlook and beliefs. If you deliberately choose to create a character who is of a different ethnic or religious background - I hope to God you have done the research - how can that character not teach you something? Perhaps tolerance for a different point of view, or acceptance of a different way of life. Even villains have their reasons and while some are just pure evil, most have something about them a reader and the author can relate to or have sympathy for. Nearly all my characters have taught me patience. I create them and love them, then I create a world of trouble for them to deal with, but real problems don’t go away overnight. I can’t write them out of trouble from one chapter to the next or I have no story so I have to be patient while they grow, get stronger, come to terms with life and triumph.

Why not hop on over and check out these authors and how they see themselves in their characters, or perhaps get a peek at what their characters have taught them.

A.J. Maguire  
Marci Baun  
Marie Laval 
Judith Copek 
Dr. Bob Rich 
Rachael Kosinski 
Beverley Bateman 

Fiona McGier

Connie Vines
Rhobin L Courtright 


Posted by: Skye Taylor AT 12:01 am   |  Permalink   |  7 Comments  |  Email
Great post, Skye. I totally agree with everything you say, especially about learning about people from different ethnic, religious or social background by thorough research.
Posted by Marie Laval on 02/24/2018 - 08:04 AM
Tolerance, acceptance, sympathy, and patience -- great traits to acquire as either writer or reader. Enjoyed your post Skye!
Posted by Rhobin on 02/24/2018 - 08:30 AM
I don't know how we'd write without including our experiences, Skye. Have you ever written a scene for a book and have it give you chills? Sometimes, I think writing is our subconscious talking to us, working through our own issues through fictional characters. Not on every book, but sometimes. Of course, that could just be me. :) Marci
Posted by Marci Baun on 02/24/2018 - 10:40 AM
Excellent post, Skye. This particularly spoke to me: "If you deliberately choose to create a character who is of a different ethnic or religious background - I hope to God you have done the research - how can that character not teach you something?" I face this problem all the time, and fortunately, I like research. :)
Posted by Bob Rich on 02/24/2018 - 05:10 PM
I enjoyed your post, especially your comments on villains and how they can help reveal something about the author. Good point.
Posted by Beverley Bateman on 02/24/2018 - 05:35 PM
I loved the story about your dad chasing the fire truck and then the nightmares and finally your story of the arsonist. Great post.
Posted by Judith Copek on 02/25/2018 - 12:34 PM
I agree that research should be done before writing a character from a different culture/religion. In my two female secret agent books, I have them occasionally using a full-body burqa as a disguise. One was born in Syria, so she grew up surrounded by women who wore them. Both use them to keep their identities secret. I had a reviewer once blast me for "insulting and denigrating" Islam as a religion, and the Muslims who practice it. I have many Muslim friends, and I thought I was being respectful. I once read about a robbery committed here in the USA by two Arab men who disguised themselves in, yup, you guessed it, full-body burqas. I wonder if the reviewer wrote to them to complain also?
Posted by Fiona McGier on 02/28/2018 - 04:10 PM

Post comment
Email Address

(max 750 characters)
* Required Fields
Note: All comments are subject to approval. Your comment will not appear until it has been approved.

    Site Mailing List  Sign Guest Book  View Guest Book 

    Skye Taylor
    St Augustine, Florida

    Site Powered By
        Online web site design